Art events in Madrid during ARCO Art Fair 2023
ARCO Madrid 2023
Header: Eugenio Merino, “Aqui murio Picasso”
A Resilient Art Fair Regaining Confidence
ARCO Madrid 2023 marks the 42nd edition of the prestigious art fair, and this year, it has returned to its pre-pandemic levels. With over 200 galleries from more than 36 countries participating, the fair expects around 95,000 visitors. As they announced, it is better than the pre-pandemic levels. But why? Let’s see that together:
The misfortune of some…
Spain, with Portugal, is the least impacted economically in Europe by the war in Ukraine because it is mainly independent of Russian Gaz and Oil. Spain’s control of the inflation rate and how the people and government faced pandemics make it now one of the best countries to invest in. Where cash flows, Art thrives.
ARCO is one of the biggest art fairs in Europe. But it always struggled to get attention from the US and North European galleries. Yet, this economic and geopolitical situation now drives the art world. It has nothing to do with ARCO’s strategic choices.
Crisis and Art
In this period of financial markets’ instability, investors are traditionally turning their interest to Art. Economic downturns tend to make the ultra-wealthy individuals, who represent a significant portion of the art market’s clientele, increase their consistent demand for Art.
Same old ARCO
No big changes: ARCO follows the same line from its starts 40 years ago:
- Focusing on Spanish / Iberian art
- Being a reference for Latin American art in Europe
- Mediterranean and African art
ARCO’s Storage concept
The two directors studied architecture. They brought the idea of the “Almacen” (Storage) to the event: Any exhibitor can use a secondary space as a gallery, with more privacy and that can be a plus for selling.
Large-Scale Installations and New Media Art
This year’s fair showcases increased confidence, demonstrated by numerous large-scale installations and new media art pieces. The event exudes the aura of a top-tier art fair, displaying impressive and massive artworks that leave a lasting impression on visitors.
New and Noteworthy Participants
ARCO Madrid 2023 welcomes significant new participants, including prominent American gallery David Zwirner. Additionally, the fair features two curatorial programs and introduces ArtsLibris, adding further diversity and intrigue to the event. The art fair has regained momentum, boasting a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere.
How to Get Your Art into ARCO Madrid
ARCO Application Process
Participating in ARCO Madrid: The fair does not accept individual artist applications. Instead, artists must be represented by a commercial gallery, which must apply on their behalf. A gallery must be open for at least two years before applying to any professional trade show or art fair.
Selection Criteria and Point System
ARCO Madrid employs a strict selection process, relying on a point system to assess gallery applications. The jury evaluates each gallery’s program and proposal based on specific criteria. Factors like previous participation in ARCO or representation of artists who have participated increase a gallery’s score. New galleries may find entering more challenging, as the point system often favors established galleries with a history at the fair.
Previous ARCO editions
- 2022: 209 galleries from 30 countries. This year, the Basel Group kicked the French art fair FIAC out of Paris (Article on Flash Art)
- 2021: 130 galleries from 27 countries. ARCO opened in July when other pandemics canceled other art fairs.
- 2020: 209 galleries from 30 countries
The Drawing Room
There was no Drawing Room in Madrid for 2023
The Drawing Room is an art fair dedicated to drawings and sketches. The home-like venue makes the Drawing Room an intimate niche art event.
The next Drawing Room Event will be in October in Lisbon. They don’t make it happen during Arco Lisbon, which can be a bad choice…
Niche Art Fair
Last year Drawing Room attracted more than 10,0000 visitors. It is a popular event among local collectors who are passionate about works on paper. At the inauguration, a performance went live at nightfall, turning Santa Barbara into a live house.
Specification versus size
However, its size was well compensated by its ability to present itself as a niche art fair. As the name suggests, the Drawing Room is about drawings and other works on paper. It’s not about video art, photography or oil on canvas. This is very clear and very nicely presented. I believe going niche has better value than growing larger in size. The value of the Drawing Room lays in its ability to attract like-minded collectors who have a passion for drawings. I totally felt the click when I visited the Drawing Room.
Parallel to the main event, the Drawing Room also hosted a two-week-long online art fair. Due to the limited space in this two-story house, the Drawing Room might be considered a risky event for people with health concerns. Making the art fair available online is a smart move.
More International Please
8 out of 16 galleries participating in the Drawing Room art fair come from Spain. As a small art fair, you might not attract a lot of foreign galleries. Nevertheless, More international galleries would bring diversity and interest in this event. One gallery whose staff did not speak a word of Spanish. They had to run out to get materials translated on the same day in order to cope with Spanish-speaking visitors. If the fair has an official translator on site, it might attract more international galleries and visitors.
“Room” to Improve
Looking into the press area and found the contact of the press officer as an outsourced communication agency. The Instagram of this agency has only 661 followers, while the Drawing Room has 6799 followers. Followers don’t mean much, but not having many followers means that you are missing out on some great opportunities. It is a small fair, but it could have a big impact. The Drawing Room has a lot of space to grow in terms of an online presence.
Last year I was very impressed by the Drawing Room for the ‘best bang for your buck’ art fair. This stays true this year. It was only a little over 3000 euro to participate in this 5-day fair. Many old participating galleries returned happily, thinking it was a bargain. The Drawing Room had found its market segment among other art fairs by offering something special to both galleries and collectors.
This edition of Urvanity was hosted at COAM (El Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid). It’s marketed as a ‘new contemporary art fair’, but it was often referred to as the urban art fair. Just like last year, it occupied two floors of the COAM school, a conference hall and the patio. 28 art galleries attended. Many of them were loyal supporters of the fair dating back several editions.
Urban art theme
Live DJ, art talks, outdoor sitting combined with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from the sponsoring brands are the iconic elements of Urvanity. Thanks to the large outdoor area, it provided a relaxing environment that matches well with its urban art theme.
Safe and clean
The event organizers have employed some heavy security and cleaning staff. When you turn around, there is at least one person with a bottle of detergent and a cleaning cloth, ready to clean after the visitors. At first, it looked like it was some kind of performance art. The attempt to keep the place safe and clean was much appreciated.
Hybrid Art Fair Madrid 2023
A Hotel Art Fair
The Hybrid Art Fair, also known as the “Hotel Art Fair” is at the Petit Palace Santa Barbara Hotel in the heart of Madrid. Among other alternative art fairs during the week, it is the last to open its doors – only for three days. All the dates are open to the general public, making them accessible to young collectors and families. Every hotel room is converted into a small booth during the fair, allowing you to converse with your favorite artists in a comfortable, home-like setting.
Exhibiting on beds
This year’s Hybrid attracted 35 galleries from all over the world. It also hosted 3 round table discussions on trending subjects, such as NFT art and artist residencies.
This edition of the art fair welcomed some new faces. For example, the Espacio Punto Nemo is a brand-new art and art print store gallery in Madrid:
Punto Nemo Space
Thirteen galleries are from outside of Spain, making the best international gallery ratio of all fairs in Madrid.
Chini Gallery from Taipei, representing Jazz Szu-Ying Chen and traveling over ten thousand kilometers away on the earth’s surface to be here in Madrid. It is not the first year an artist from Taipei is showing at Hybrid, as there has been a long-standing collaboration between the cultural department of Taipei and the fair.
Jazz Szu-Ying Chen, Chini Gallery
Intimate Art Performances
Every year there are performances taking place during the fairs. However, this year it was particularly bubbly and somehow risqué. There are stagged art performances that fit the intimate environment inside a hotel room. Also, you can find hosted live music like a mini-concert. I can see a tendency of Hybrid to find its ‘in situ’ among the fierce competition of other art fairs during the ARCO art week.
If Hybrid wants to stand out, it needs to be edgier: such as allowing an independent artist to attend, or include more art activists… Or playing with the fact there is a bed, to promote the idea of privacy and art… There are many possibilities.
Art Madrid Art Fair 2023
18th edition review
Like the previous edition, Art Madrid celebrated its 18th edition at Galería de Cristal.
Art Madrid Art Fair 2023 is showcasing a diverse range of art from established and emerging talents. This year, the fair features 40 galleries from around the world, focusing on Europe and Latin America. A mix of established and emerging artists, offering a middle ground for art enthusiasts and collectors.
Art Madrid has established itself as an important European art fair, providing a dynamic and exciting environment for galleries, artists, and visitors. While not as internationally diverse as ARCO, Art Madrid remains a valuable event.
1. Alternative Art Fair
Art Madrid has a long history and is sometimes considered the little brother of ARCO. It has artists from all disciplines and galleries from all over the world. The main differences would be: more affordable and more emerging.
2. Similar style to ARCO
The way of writing is just like the communication of ARCO. Art Madrid is trying to use the contemporary art language to communicate something young, emerging, and affordable. The intention is nice, but I think there must be better ways to do it. If they could come up with a new way of communicating their message, Art Madrid could transmit a stronger message.
3. Solid proposal
Art Madrid faces fierce competition as an emerging art fair. If emerging galleries want to grow online, they will have to cut their art fair budgets. Art Madrid has a solid history, but they can’t ignore many contenders who try to take its place.
Memorable Exhibits and Experiences at Art Madrid 2023
One standout exhibit at this year’s Art Madrid is Dr. Robot Gallery from Valencia, the smallest gallery in Europe. The gallery’s curator made a return appearance at the fair, providing a sense of continuity and familiarity for attendees.
Electric art installation
Artist: Dela Delos “El Desvio”
A unique and entertaining experience at the fair was the chimera electric tricycle, an art piece created from a second-hand children’s tricycle. Dela Delos transformed the tricycle into an electric vehicle, complete with an audio track discussing art, politics, and more. This interactive artwork offered a rare opportunity for visitors to ride an electric vehicle within the fair’s venue —>
Art Madrid in 2022
It gathered 36 galleries from Spain and overseas. Due to the travel restrictions and safety concerns, mainly galleries from Spain participated in this year’s fair. There wasn’t a defined theme from the organizer’s side, but the market has its own agenda. You could find many artworks depicting water in various forms – from swimming pools, rivers, and lakes to the sea. It’s not surprising – collectors in mainland cities like Madrid are desperate to see some blue over the next few months. This answer to the market demand is a positive sign – ‘This is not a biennale’ said a participating artist, ‘we are here to do business.
Artists we liked
Just Madrid Art Fair 2023
Its Best Edition So Far
With more than 50 galleries, they are bigger than the other art fair off, but yet nothing equivalent to the big daddy Arco. Their approach is dedicated to emerging artists and they merge it with art residencies.
A New and Improved Layout
The 14th edition of Just Madrid Art Fair outdid itself with a revamped floor plan that offered a more spacious and comfortable experience for attendees. Unlike previous years, which felt crowded and chaotic, the new layout featured large-scale artworks and ample room to breathe. Additionally, a central pathway improved navigation and allowed for smoother transitions between booths.
Expanding Scope to Lisbon
The Just Madrid Art Fair has been growing in popularity over the past few years, with a sister fair, Just LX in Lisbon, having taken place eight or nine months ago. The expansion to Lisbon demonstrates the fair’s dedication to showcasing contemporary art on an international scale, further cementing its position in the art world.
Showcasing Diverse Art and Artists
Experimental Photography and Interactive Installations
One of the highlights of Just Madrid Art Fair was the experimental photography project by a duo of artists based in Valencia. The artists utilized long exposure times of 30 to 60 seconds and everyday items such as Cafe and tea cans to create analog photographs. Their unique approach was a fascinating surprise for attendees.
The Importance of Networking
At its core, the Just Madrid Art Fair is all about people and connections. From visiting friends at Panoptikum, a self-managed artist-run gallery in Vienna, to meeting new artists and gallerists, the fair provides a unique opportunity for networking and building relationships in a condensed and engaging format.
Transforming Tools into Art
Another intriguing display at the fair involved an artist who transformed a seemingly mundane item, a broom, into a tool for creating art. The artist, Blanco Anyo, referred to the broom as a tool for “mass destruction” of dirtiness and showcased how they used it to create captivating pieces:
Just Madrid in 2022: Just Normal
JustMAD art fair in 2022 was giving more attention to the people than the artworks. If they want to support emerging Spanish art, they should put art in the spotlight and sell it hard. Another problem was that JustMAD has put itself in a somehow awkward position from the beginning – as inferior to ARCO, instead of the alternative to ARCO. In 2017, their curatorial note said: ‘last year I was in JustMAD, this year I am in ARCO.’
This comparison would hurt their potential in many ways. By the way, ARCO is already giving out an emerging art award sponsored by a large alcoholic beverage company. If you are fond of art or don’t have the time or energy to take a trip out of the city center for ARCO.